The "Hope for Haiti Now" charity album debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 171,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, becoming the first digital-exclusive set to top the tally in its nearly 54-year history . . . The set is one of three new entries in the top 10 of the chart, where Spoon's new "Transference" bows at No. 4 and the "2010 Grammy Nominees" album starts right behind it at No. 5.
New York band Vampire Weekend sees its sophomore set, "Contra," debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 124,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan . . . The set is only the 12th independently distributed album to top the Billboard 200 since SoundScan began powering the list in May 1991 . . . "Contra" is the only debut in the top 10 this week, as the second-highest entry comes from Omarion's "Ollusion" at No. 19 with 19,000 copies . . . The Greatest Gainer on the tally, in terms of the biggest unit gain, is Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster," which rallies from No. 10 to No. 6 with 36,000 (up by more than 4,000 copies), likely thanks to her performance and chat on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last Friday (Jan. 15).
Taylor Swift's "Fearless" spends a seventh week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 . . . Can you name the last album to spend as many weeks at the top? . . . The first top 10 debut of the year comes in the form of the soundtrack to "Notorious," while the "Now That's What I Call Music!" compilation series finds a new theme . . . In Progress Reports, we have updates on a new No. 1 single from Alan Jackson, a top 10 hit from Airborne Toxic Event and the continuing reign of dance diva Donna Summer.
Eighteen of Mariah Carey's best-known ballads have been compiled for an album appropriately titled "The Ballads." Due Jan. 20 via Columbia/Legacy, the project features such hits as "Hero," "One Sweet Day," "Vision of Love," "Always Be My Baby" and "Dreamlover."